WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is acknowledging publicly for the first time that a Pakistani doctor provided key information to the U.S. in advance of the successful Navy SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden's compound last May.
Panetta told CBS's "60 Minutes," in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday, that Shakil Afridi helped provide intelligence for the raid on bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify bin Laden's presence in the compound.
He has since been charged by Pakistan with treason .
Panetta said he is "very concerned" for the doctor.
'What the hell's going on'?
Panetta also told "60 Minutes" that he remains convinced that someone in the Pakistani government must have had an idea that a person of interest was in the compound.
"I personally have always felt that somebody must have had some sense of what ... what was happening at this compound. Don't forget, this compound had 18-foot walls ... It was the largest compound in the area. So you would have thought that somebody would have asked the question, 'What the hell's going on there?'" Panetta told the show.Slideshow: After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound (on this page)
He added that he has no proof that Pakistan knew it was bin Laden.
The Pakistani government had hoped to resolve the Afridi matter quietly, once media attention died down, perhaps releasing him to U.S. custody, according to two Pakistani officials.Interactive: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life (on this page)
They requested anonymity because the investigation into charges the doctor behaved treasonously was ongoing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.